Not Much Going On - or, depending on one's point of view, Too Much Going On!
I'd intended to produce this blog post more than a week ago, and just cover the last week in March. However, this was not to be, for a number of reasons, most of which have to do with working on the infrastructure of our abode. In 2019, after a couple of weeks in hospital, I was rather unwell for virtually the whole of the summer and little maintenance was done on house and garden. The after-effects of this illness were still worryingly apparent through most of 2020, and so I was taking it easy as far as matters of physical exertion were concerned, for fear of a relapse during the Covid crisis.
Much of my time this spring, when we have had fair weather, has been spent trying to reclaim the garden, with the bulk of the work in the past two weeks being in taking down two huge areas of ivy that had got totally out of control. The largest of these, which was 5 metres wide by 4 metres high had started invading the neighbours' roof. Blackbirds had attempted to nest on a regular basis, but the nests tended to fail, and there was always the danger of fledglings getting taken by visiting cats. The ivy was also attractive to bees, spiders, and Holly Blue butterflies, so it was with a sad heart that I decided it had to go - entirely. Most of the two weeks was spent trying to get the roots up. The job is now finished, but I now have to dispose of the remains! The bed in front of the wall will now be planted with invertebrate-friendly flowering plants.
Also this week we managed to get a plumber in to rectify a grand total of six plumbing issues that had been stacking up, waiting for the pandemic to quieten down a bit, but needed attention - two of them urgent (a leaking pipe in ther kitchen that tended to flood the kitchen floor, and a bath hot tap that suddenly decided it wouldn't open beyond a trickle!
Anyway, the result of all this is that I've not been out birding except for one failed attempt, and I have not spent much time observing the birds in the garden, which have tended to stay away anyway because of the amount of time that I have spent in the garden.
So here's what little I did manage to muster during the two weeks.
Tuesday, 23rd March
We were, and still are, regularly being visited by Siskins. I'm not sure how long these will be with us for. Historically, we have visits most years and they are usually gone to their summer breeding grounds at some time between early and late April.
|Siskin (Spinus spinus) (female) - garden on 23rd March, 2021|
Having had a 9a.m. eye appointment, the optician sent me direct to the Eye Casualty department at Leicester General Hospital as he thought that I might have a tear (as in rip) in my eye. Here I spent most of my day while Lindsay patiently waited in the car park - I'd been unable to drive myself as I'd had drops in my eyes to dilate the pupils. I was, eventually, given the all-clear.
Because of this, little was seen in the garden but I did put the moth trap out and the trail cams were also out, as always.
One of he trail cams (I deploy four each night) caught an altercation between two Hedgehogs.
|Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) - from garden on 24th March, 2021|
After being absent for several days, the female Blackcap put in a brief appearance, but was not photographed. The only shots taken were of a Long-tailed Tit.
|Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) - garden on 26th March.2021|
The only remarkable aspect to this day was the arrival of five Siskin (2 male, 3 female) which were not photographed. I did, however, manage to get a shot of the two regularly visiting Stock Doves together.
|Stock Dove (Columba oenas) - garden on 27th March, 2021|
I think that, maybe, the person in the bungalow behind our house is trying to wind me up. Whenever I look out of our bedroom window after dark, I see an owl, faintly silhouetted against the light shining through the blinds at his window.
|false owl - from our bedroom window|
Monday, 29th March
This was the only attempt at a birding walk I made in the fortnight featured in this post. My chosen destination was Saltersford Valley, and the experience was a disappointing one. My first disappointment was finding that the place seems to have suddenly become a destination for anglers, who were there with all their detritus scattered round about them. I was also disappointed by the dearth of birds to be seen, let alone photographed. The only shot I took was of an appealing clump of Marsh Marigold.
|Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) - Saltersford Valley|
Disappointingly, Greenfinch had become a very scarce visitor to our garden. However, we have now started having occasional sightings once more. Although not a good shot, I cannot resist including this one 'just for the record'.
|Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) (male) - garden on 30th March, 2021|
|Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata) from garden on 30th March, 2021|
|Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda) - from garden on 30th March, 2021|
|Leek Moth (Acrolepiopsis assectella) - from garden on 30th March,2021|
|Beautiful Plume (Amblyptilia acanthadactyla) - from garden on 30th March,2021|
|Early Grey (Xylocampa areola) - from garden on 30th March, 2021|
|Satellite (Eupsilia transversa) - from garden on 30th March, 2021|
|Twin-spotted Quaker (Orthosia munda) - from garden on 30th March, 2021|
|Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) - garden on 31st March, 2021|